Girlfriend’s Loss of Desire Puzzling

Why would a woman sexually withdraw from a man?  I have no reason to believe that there is anyone else in the picture, and we have talked about making a commitment to each other, but I told her I wasn’t ready for that yet.  Any thoughts that you have will be greatly appreciated.

Feeling Snubbed in Longmont, Colorado

Dear Snubbed:  I have four guesses about what’s going on.  First, that as Tanya grows more secure in your relationship, deeper issues of hers are emerging—issues that are probably related to vulnerability and trust.  Second, some women use sex to lure a man.  When she has a man, however, she may be unsure how to grow a relationship into the deeper emotions of love and trust.

Third, Tanya may be withdrawing from you, unsure if she wants to grow more attached or committed to you, even unsure how she feels about you.  It’s even possible that she was more interested in the chase than in having you.  This is a similar dynamic to a man desiring the conquest more than he desires an actual relationship with a woman.

Lastly, consciously or unconsciously, she may be using sex as a way of attempting to gain a commitment from you.  Women have been socialized to associate sex with love—so she may be withdrawing as a way of getting you to commit to her—with the promise that there will be plenty of sex in the future.

The only way you’re going to know is to address these issues with her in a caring, compassionate and understanding way.

Dear Neil:  I no longer have any interest in sex with my husband of 34 years.  I am going through menopause and find hot flashes worse at nighttime, so I no longer like to snuggle with him.  There are some other issues in our relationship that need sorting out and that we need to talk about and deal with.  It has been months since we have had sex, and my husband is becoming very concerned.  Could you recommend a therapist who lives near us?

Withdrawn in New Zealand

Dear Withdrawn:  Create a list of the issues in your marriage that you think may be adversely affecting your sex life, and sit down and address those issues with your husband.

I can’t recommend a counselor in New Zealand, but I could suggest you check your phone book, call Social Services or ask your doctor for a referral.  

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